LAOAG CITY – Officials and residents of Ilocos Norte province, particularly those Edita Aguinaldo-Dacuycuy taught and inspired to plant and venture into the dragon fruit business are mourning her death due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
The 75-year-old Dacuycuy, hailed as the Philippines "dragon fruit queen", died at the Mariano Marcos Memorial Hospital and Medical Center on Friday.
Her urn lies inside the Dacuycuy family house in Poblacion 1, Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte.
“The province has lost a true treasure. We will miss you dearly Manang Edita. You will forever be our 'Dragon Fruit Queen',” Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc said on his official Facebook page on Saturday.
As a trailblazer in the Philippines’ dragon fruit industry, she has inspired hundreds of smallholders, women entrepreneurs, food processors, and persons with disabilities among others, as she unceasingly shared her best practices, as well as worked with different public and private entities for the promotion and commercialization of the dragon fruit cactus plant and its by-products, here and abroad.
Her passion for dragon fruit growing and processing won her numerous local and international awards, chiefly the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Women Innovator in 2011, Rural Women of 2019, the Department of Agriculture’s National and Regional Gawad Saka Awardee in 2010 and 2018.
“Her legacy as the 'Dragon Fruit Queen of the Philippines' will always remain in our hearts,” the staff of the Ilocos Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium said in a Facebook post on Friday evening.
Dacuycuy is survived by her four children – Meg, a physical therapist now living in the United States; Francis, a pediatrician with a private clinic in Pasuquin town; Mildred, a communication and art expert who helps her manage the farm business; and Kaye, born with cerebral palsy and the inspiration behind Dacuycuy's dragon fruit success story. (PNA)